An Alvarado, Texas, woman charged in connection with a deadly crash in January in downtown Davenport is fit to stand trial and can assist in her own defense, a Scott County judge ruled Friday.
The ruling by Judge Stuart Werling reinstates the criminal proceedings against Lauria Lee Kelly, 57, who is charged with homicide by vehicle-reckless driving in the death of Cynthia Elaine Jones.
During a short hearing Friday in Scott County District Court, the judge granted a defense request to evaluate Kelly a second time to determine whether there are grounds for either a defense of diminished responsibility or insanity defense at trial.
The evaluation will take place at the Iowa Medical and Classification Center at Oakdale, the same facility that evaluated her on the competency issue.
She remained in the Scott County Jail on Friday on a $100,000 cash-only bond.
Police say Kelly was driving her blue 2005 Dodge truck east on 2nd Street at a high rate of speed just before 6 p.m. Jan. 30.
Witnesses to the crash and events leading up to it told police that Kelly was driving very fast and that she ran through at least two red traffic lights, one at 2nd and Harrison streets and the other at 2nd and Main streets, according to police.
One witness, who was crossing 2nd Street at Brady, said she heard the roar of an engine just prior to the crash, according to police.
Kelly's vehicle struck the rear of a red Chevrolet Monte Carlo that was stopped at the red light at 2nd and Brady. The force of the impact caused fatal injuries to Jones, 53, of Davenport.
The Monte Carlo then was pushed into the rear of a green 1999 Buick Regal that was in front of it. The force of the crash was so great that all three vehicles came to a rest on the other side of the intersection more than 100 feet away, according to police.
Kelly and the driver of the Buick were taken to a hospital for non-life-threatening injuries.
Kelly was arrested after her release from the hospital and taken to the Scott County Jail, according to police.
Judge Mary Howes, citing concern about Kelly’s mental state, ordered an evaluation to determine whether she was fit to stand trial during a hearing on April 5. The judge said during the hearing that Kelly did not appear to "be in tune with reality to time and place and what was going on that day."
Howe's order pertained only to the issue of competency.
The report, which was filed June 7, noted that while Kelly was competent to stand trial, she “meets the criteria for the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder” and has active psychotic symptoms in the form of delusional thinking, according to a motion filed earlier this month by Kelly's attorney, Harlan Giese Jr.
Giese said Friday that he did not contest the finding that his client was fit to stand trial. However, there remains a “genuine question as to her mental state and further evaluation might establish the grounds for either a diminished responsibility or insanity defense to the underlying charge."
He further said that Kelly has expressed interest in getting the evaluation completed as quickly as possible.
Assistant Scott County Attorney Kimberly Shepherd did not object to the evaluation and said she would request that the Oakdale facility process Kelly as quickly as possible. However, there is no guarantee that the evaluation will be completed within the speedy trial timeline.
Defendants have a right to be tried within 90 days from the date that the trial information is filed.
Kelly on Friday filed a written waiver of her right to a speedy trial. Once the second evaluation is filed, she can reassert her demand for speedy trial at that time, Werling said.